In most cases, one of the last things a Minnesota worker wants to see is a severance agreement. Usually, an employer will hand one of these contracts to their employee as she is, at least figuratively, being shown to the door of her workplace after a firing or a layoff. Amid the stress and fear associated with being without a reliable income, it may be tempting for a Minneapolis resident to sign a severance agreement on the spot, especially if the agreement involves a few extra weeks or even months of compensation.

Signing a severance agreement is not always a bad move. Particularly when the firing is based on solid legal grounds, a severance package can save the employer the cost of disposing of meritless litigation and provide an employee some financial cushion while he looks for a new job.

However, it is very important for an employee who has been offered a severance agreement to recognize that these agreements often come with language that waives the employee’s right to come and back and sue her employer for various violations of the law. For instance, after signing a severance agreement, an employee may be barred from suing under federal or state anti-discrimination laws, whistleblower protections, or wrongful termination or other legal claims developed by the Minnesota courts.

This is why the best advice is for a person not to sign a severance agreement without first taking the time to read over it carefully, making sure to understand what rights are being giving up. Discussing a proposed severance agreement with a Minnesota attorney who understands the employee’s legal options is also a good idea.